Article by Dale Denwalt for The Oklahoman
StitchCrew has received a federal grant and matching contributions to help launch 40 new companies throughout the state.
The U.S. Economic Development Administration awarded StitchCrew $300,000 to support its startup accelerator program and to connect those companies to capital and social networks.
Another $415,000 in matching funds was raised by the Oklahoma City Thunder, Google, Inasmuch, the Oklahoma Business Roundtable, Hogan Taylor and the Lobeck Taylor Family Foundation.
StitchCrew co-founder Erika Lucas said the money will help host the next four cohorts, or classes of startups. Each cohort accommodates up to 10 companies.
“We are proud to partner with the Economic Development Agency and our local funders to continue our work of removing unnecessary barriers to entry for entrepreneurs across the state,” Lucas said. “We are also excited to extend our already strong network of partners to include other organizations across all 117 opportunity zones in Oklahoma in an effort to support more entrepreneurs regardless of their ZIP code.”
U.S. Rep. Kendra Horn, D-Oklahoma City, was present during the announcement and spoke about the importance of investing in local entrepreneurs.
“Small businesses are the backbone of our economy. I am grateful for organizations like StitchCrew and the Oklahoma City Thunder that help entrepreneurs launch businesses; investing in our entrepreneurs is one of the best investments we can make,” Horn said. “This grant is a great example of public and private funds working together to benefit Oklahomans.”
Also present at the event were Oklahoma Department of Commerce, Executive Director Brent Kisling, former EDA Representative Cornell Wesley, County Field Representative for U.S. Senator James Lankford, Brookes Wright, among others.
Since its inception in January 2018, the accelerator has helped 39 startups launch and scale businesses in Oklahoma, operating out of the Thunder Launchpad fueled by Midfirst Bank. Founders going through the accelerator benefit from space at the Thunder Launchpad, mentorship, and access to the StitchCrew network which includes founders, mentors, a category-expert database, as well as an extensive investor network across the United States.
Thunder Launchpad and StitchCrew almuns include Green Tree Project, From Seed to Spoon, Ocupath and TeleVet.